By Joe Bolick, Iowa Waste Reduction Center
Where do I even begin?
In today’s business world, you really have no choice but to have a social media presence. But having a presence and actually being effective are not one in the same. It can be complicated and time consuming. The days of just setting up a Facebook page and calling it good are over. Social media is not as fun and easy as it sounds, but it can be an unbelievable asset to your business when done right. Here are nine steps to get you started on your social media journey.
Step 1 - Decide on the persona you are willing and ABLE to commit to online. The only thing worse than not having an online presence is having a horribly inconsistent one.
Step 2 - Decide whether or not to separate the personal and professional online personas. Do you want your online presence to be you, or a representation of your business?
Step 3 - Look at user data and analytics trends to decide which platform(s) are going to allow you to best pass your message along to your current and potential customers. Why put all of your efforts on Twitter when more of your audience is using Instagram?
Step 4 - Create or modify accounts so they all have the same “handle” (if possible). Simplicity and consistency is critical, you want to be easy to find across all online channels.
Step 5 - Set up a social media management account to manage all of the platforms (Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, Wordpress and Instagram) you decided to use in step 3. Many of these will allow you to add multiple accounts for free. Doing this also allows you to potentially hire an intern to manage your accounts without giving them direct access to your social media accounts.
Step 6 - Develop a company-specific strategy, create an editorial calendar, schedule posts in advance and FOLLOW it.
Step 7 - Create a strategy for engagement. How often will you respond? Will you have canned responses set up for certain topics?
Step 8 - Create written policies and guidelines for social media and publish them to your website. It's especially important to highlight your policies on comments and monitoring, that way if a comment is taken down, you can fall back on the policy.
Step 9 - This is the absolute most important step…..Commit to your strategies and stay active!